Whether he intends to or not, Joe Biden might well become a transformational president on issues of foreign policy and national security. Since taking office, Biden has prioritized the challenge of meeting four major, largely domestic crises—COVID, the economy, racial divisions, and climate change. But the world seldom waits for a convenient moment to insert itself into the agenda, and for that and a host of other reasons, Biden already seems likely to have an international legacy of real consequence.
Even in his very first forays into foreign policy, Biden has made an impact. On Friday, he participated via videolink as a speaker at the Munich Security Conference. While his words might not have seemed out of place for a normal American president, they stood in striking contrast to those of his immediate predecessor.
He emphasized the importance of America’s partnerships with our allies noting pointedly, “They’re not transactional. They’re not extractive. They’re built on a vision of the future where every voice matters. Where the rights of all are protected and the rule of law is upheld. None of us has fully succeeded in achieving this vision. And in too many places, including in Europe and the United States, democratic progress is under assault.”